The Atlantic fleet: It has relatively few ships, all of them shown here
This year, more Americans than ever want to take ship and go to Europe — on business, to study, to play or for one last look around. The fleet that will transport nearly all of them is shown in a drawing that pictures every regularly scheduled Atlantic liner carrying 100 or more passengers.
It is a smaller fleet than the pre-war one — 29 ships against 77 in 1939. It ranges in size from the 2,287-passenger Elizabeth, the world’s biggest, to the 150-passenger Noordam and Westerdam; in age from the 6-week-old Parthia to the 30-year-old Stavangerfjord; in fares from about $1,000 for a suite on one of the Queens, to about $160 for tourist-class passage on vessels like the America and Mauretania.
While the airlines, which can carry 18,705 passengers a month to Europe, still have space available, every accommodation on the Atlantic fleet (about 27,000 passengers a month) is booked through September. Nearly 150,000 would-be tourists applied too late.
Traveling first class
For those with first-class reservations on the bigger vessels, the five-day trip provides a chance to rub shoulders with celebrities in sumptuous salons, to dance every evening, see first-run movies, swim and lounge in a variety of bars.
>> See one of these ships after it retired: Queen Mary Tour: 81,000 tons of fun in Long Beach (1974)
Those traveling lower class on smaller and slower ships will find cabins less luxurious, often without private bath, and sometimes with as many as six bunks. They will see few celebrities and hear no orchestras, but can get plenty of rest and quiet in a voyage that averages eight days.
And for travelers on ships famed for cuisine, like those of Sweden, France and Italy, the Atlantic crossing can also be an epicurean adventure.
The five ships shown above are the only vessels, except for round-trip cruise ships carrying 100 or more passengers between New York and Latin America. It is a small, luxurious fleet, with fares from $395 to $1,100.
Most of the ships have been renovated since the war, with décor by famous artists, and not one but two swimming pools. The Santa Rosa’s dining room has a roof which rolls back in fair weather. Winter is their busiest season, but nearly all are booked through this summer.
The ships at the far right are the middle-Atlantic fleet, which calls at Mediterranean ports. Nine more ships will be added to the entire fleet in the next two years.